PadPCB offers Ceramic PCBs for Your Needs
- Full range of ceramic PCB materials in stock
- Monthly total 50000 sets capacity
- All processes in-house.
Your Best Partner for Ceramic PCB Manufacturing in China
Locate in Shenzhen, China, PadPCB has more then 15 years of PCB manufacturing experience. we can meet your full requirements for Ceramic PCBs and Ceramic Substrates with DPC (Direct Plating Copper) materials such as Aluminum Oxide((Al2O3)and Aluminum Nitride(AlN).
Ceramic PCBs is widely used in many fileds. It is the best choice for high-current LEDs, power controllers, exchange converters and power regulators in automobiles, audio amplifiers, and high power transistors.
Why Choose PadPCB
When you send us the gerber file, our professional engineer will evalulate your design per layer and offer detailed quotation in short time.
The max capacity of our factory is about 50,000 square meter. It means that we can ensure the short turnout time for your project.
For each order, our sales will follow up all the manufacturing process and communicate with customer.
Our Ceramic PCB Major Customers
FAQs about Ceramic PCB
1. What is Ceramic PCB?
Ceramic PCBs are thermal organic ceramic-bead boards. They are fabricated at a temperature slightly below 250°C from powdered ceramic substrate materials (Aluminum Nitride, Aluminum oxide, Beryllium Oxide, Boron Oxide, and Silicon Carbide) and organic adhesives. They may have any shape/size/dimensions to suit your needs.
Ceramic PCBs have a varying thermal conductivity that fully depends on a substrate material. These are typically considered high-performance, medium-cost boards.
2. Why choose Ceramic Printed Circuit Boards?
Ceramic PCBs offer a unique combination of properties that make them stand out among competitors:
- 0% Water absorption. Ceramic PCBs do not absorb liquid leading to a lower chance of their deterioration in high humidity environments.
- Suit high-density assembly. Such boards are perfect-fit for complicated board designs and demanding microelectronics.
- Operate in high-temperature environments. Unlike other options, ceramic PCBs withstand up to 350ºC. It makes them an ideal choice for electronics operating in extreme environments.
- Low thermal expansion coefficient. Ceramic PCBs do not change their dimensions if exposed to high temperatures. It makes them suitable for microdevices and tight spaces.
- Superior thermal stability. Regardless of the temperature, the electrical properties of ceramic PCBs do not deteriorate notably.
- Conduct high-speed data. Not many boards support high-speed designs, but ceramic PCBs do. They are dielectrics limiting impedance on the signal path. It makes them suitable for high-frequency applications.
- Small, dense packaging can be used. Ceramic PCBs can be fabricated and arranged in flat pieces of any size. Also, you can conduct parallel manufacturing over layers of such PCBs. This optimizes packaging and helps to make them denser. It reduced transportation costs.
- Low investments are needed. Finally, ceramic PCBs fabrication is simplified and shortened compared to alternative options. So, lower expenditures per board are required.
3. What are the disadvantages of Ceramic PCB?
- High fragility. Ceramic PCBs require gentle handling. This also limits the size of sheets of such PCBs, but it depends only on your method of moving and transporting these boards.
- Expensiveness. The cost of materials to produce ceramic PCBs and the level of labor involvement are rather high. It results in a comparatively high cost of such boards (one of the highest on the market).
- Low availability. Not every PCB shop or large manufacturer offers to produce and sell ceramic PCBs, especially custom ones.
We are well aware of these problems’ impact. So, we really try to balance the cost and quality in the most optimal way. Besides, our production and transportation departments have procedures for approaching such fragile boards. So, none of them is damaged in the process.
4. What are the types of Ceramic PCB?
Ceramic boards are differentiated based on their composition, specific properties, or substrate material. From our experience, these are popular types of ceramic PCBs that are normally available/can be produced.
- Single-sided ceramic PCBs. These are any substrate-based boards having only one conductive layer for components and one for conductive wiring.
- Double-sided ceramic PCBs. These are substrate-based boards having two conductive layers that allow mounting components on both sides. This way, traces cross each other leading to more dense designs.
- Multilayer ceramic PCBs. These are any substrate-based boards having 3 to 32 conductive layers. Such complex solutions enable the internal routing and mounting of a vast array of components.
- Copper clade substrate ceramic PCBs. These are boards that were manufactured with the use of Direct Bond Copper (DBC) technology. It strengthens copper plating onto the ceramic surface enhancing the natural properties of copper. The respective manufacturing technique is called simple metallization.
- Alumina substrate and Zirconia substrate ceramic PCBs. These are called “normal” ceramic boards fabricated as per the conventional technique from Aluminum Nitride and Zirconia with hybrid materials and organic additives.
- High-temperature co-fired ceramic PCBs. These boards are made from specific ceramics. The powder is prepared by combining aluminum oxide, adhesive, plasticizer, lubricant, and solvents. The raw ceramics are roll-formed and curtain coated with tungsten or molybdenum with circuit tracing applied. Then, the material is heated, cut, laminated, and baked.
- Low-temperature co-fired ceramic PCBs. These boards are made from crystal glass combined with glass composite and adhesives. Such ceramic powder is generated into a sheet onto which circuit tracing is applied with the use of gold paste. After cutting and forming, the workpieces are placed into oxidizing gas and baked.
- Thick film ceramic PCBs. These are simply boards fabricated by printing either gold or dielectric paste onto a ceramic base, and then baked. This technology is simple but generates the most acceptable results.
5. What are the features of Ceramic PCB?
- No heavy metal contaminants. Ceramic PCBs are produced without the use of Plumbum, Mercury, and Chromium which is great for green companies.
- No extra layers of insulation. When fabricating multilayer ceramic PCBs, you do not have to bother yourself adding insulation layers since, unlike metals, ceramic is non-conductive.
- Good thermal cycling performance. As practice shows, ceramic PCBs are fully capable of withstanding multiple thermal cycles without deterioration of their functioning in the long run.
- Compatibility with blind, buried, and micro blind and buried vias. In contrast to many other PCBs, ceramic ones can have all the types of vias that significantly enhance design options.
- High drill aspect ratio. For ceramic PCBs, this value is 18, which is much better compared to alternatives and gives more design freedom.
- A vast array of options. You have multiple types of ceramic PCBs to choose from. Besides, you can include up to 32 layers into a ceramic PCB, which covers absolutely any you need.
6. What's the process for Ceramic Printed Circuit Board Prototyping?
Ceramic PCB Prototyping is simply the planning and performing the real assembly of the board. It does not completely iterate production of, for example, FR4. So stick with us here as we bring a detailed prototyping guide for you.
Here are the ceramic PCB fabrication steps:
- Routing design. First, you should design the ways of tracing, power levels, signal noise generation, and noise sensitivity. You may use a software solution for designing a PCB.
- Creating and applying the photo film. Then, you should use a plotter to produce a photo film. It is a plastic sheet that marks parts of the board that are to be conductive/non-conductive. You should pre-bond copper to the substrate and apply the photo film to it. Harden the photo film with UV light.
- Fusing layers together. Take outer layer materials – prepregs, and the original substrate (which already has a layer of copper and tracings) and fuse the layers together.
- Drilling the holes. Drill the stack in accordance with your design, so you have holes that will accommodate components further.
- Copper plating. Use a chemical batch to deposit a thin layer of copper onto the laminate material’s surfaces, including the holes.
- Outer layer imagining. Apply a photoimageable film onto a PCB’s surface to create an inversion of the inner layers.
- Copper and tin plating. Perform copper plating one more time. The applied film ensures that the copper is deposited on the desired parts of layers only. Then, perform tin plating onto traces and pads to protect the copper from being etched.
- Etching. Use the chemical solution to remove the excess copper from your PCB’s non-conductive areas.
- Applying solder mask. Add epoxy solder mask ink onto your PCB and expose it to UV light to let epoxy fully harden.
- Assembly. Then, mount the necessary component into the pre-drilled holes in your PCB.
- Solder paste stencil. Apply solder paste, mixed with a flux, to the board. Then, place a stainless steel stencil over your PCB, and let the applicator spread solder paste evenly over the area.
- Pick and place procedure. Use a pick and place CNC unit to place and mount non-connector components on your PCB.
- Reflow soldering. Place a PCB in the oven and bake to around 480ºF to let the soldering harden.
- Inspection, Quality Assurance, and Quality Control. Perform testing of your PCB to determine connection quality and errors that could have occurred in the prototyping process. Use manual checks and automatic optical and x-ray inspection methods.
- Insert through-hole components. Mount plated through-hole (PTH) components onto your PCB.
- Conduct a functionality test. Check that your ceramic PCB prototype works correctly.
These steps are the same for DIY and large-scale PCB manufacturing. If all the descriptions sound too complicated, you can always outsource your needs.
7. Precautions in Ceramic PCB Fabrication Process
We are moving further, and here are several points to pay attention to while DIY fabricating a ceramic PCB.
- Lighting. Ensure that you work in a well-lighted environment. It will benefit the quality of your fabrications.
- Drilling. When producing holes in your laminates, make sure you take corresponding safety precautions. Besides, use high-speed revolutions to fabricate clean holes.
- Exposing to UV light. Calculate the approximate time of exposure of soldered PCB to UV light. It will depend on the amount of solder paste used. It will prevent solder paste from being partially liquid or too dense.
- Safety gear. Use hand gloves and wear goggles to protect your skin and eyes from acids. Also, use glass containers/tanks for all the liquids and as the bath for acids.
- Avoid exposing copper to air. After applying copper, make sure you do not leave PCBs for longer than needed to perform the next stages to prevent oxidation.
We also consider these safety precautions while producing our PCBs. But electronics enthusiasts are the ones who tend to neglect them the most.
8. Surface Finishing for Ceramic Printed Circuit Board
After you have prepared your board, you naturally want it to last for a longer time. And it is the reason why we apply surface finish to ceramic PCBs.
The surface finish is an extra layer that protects the copper from oxidation. Mostly, it is done by immersing a PCB into a bath with a dissolved metal or another suitable component and running an electrical charge through it. Here are the surface finish options available for ceramic PCBs:
- Electrolytic Gold/Nickel.
- Immersion silver.
- Immersion tin.
- Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold (ENIG).
- Electroless Nickel Palladium Immersion Gold (ENPIG).
There are even more of them applicable to any PCB. But our experience shows that the listed ones give optimal results if applied to ceramic boards.
9. Ceramic PCB vs FR4 PCB – An Ultimate Comparison
Ceramic and FR4 substrates are different in many ways. They grant PCBs with contrast properties, so let’s compare ceramic ones to the most popular option on the market – FR4.
- Cost. FR4 here is the absolute winner as it is nearly the most affordable option on the market.
- The simplicity of fabrication. Both types of PCB are fabricated using nearly the same techniques.
- Availability of materials. It is hard to get raw components/ceramic substrates for PCB production, so FR4 is the winner.
- The scope of application. FR4 suits low-cost electronics in nearly all industries well. In contrast, ceramic PCBs are high-cost options for advanced devices.
- High-frequency applications. FR4 does not suit such applications at all, while ceramic PCBs offer competitive performance.
- The simplicity of handling. Ceramic PCBs are difficult to approach and are fragile, while FR4 cannot be densely packed, so there is no winner.
- Thermal properties. Ceramic PCBs can operate at higher temperatures, do not deteriorate quickly, and has higher dimensional stability.
- Water absorption. Unfortunately, FR4 absorbs water up to 2% of its weight, while ceramic PCBs do not absorb water at all.
- Electrical properties. Ceramic PCBs perform slightly better and are more energy-effective options.
- Design freedom. Ceramic PCBs are way more versatile from the perspective of design as they can accommodate blind and buried micro vias.
When to use ceramic PCBs and when FR4 ones? Allow us to explain. FR-4 is more about producing cheap devices that work in a normal operating environment (0-40°C) inside devices that heat up to 80°C at max. Ceramic PCBs are placed inside advanced equipment units and ones that have to withstand extreme temperatures. So, make your decision.
10. Finding Ceramic PCB Manufacturers in China
If you decide to outsource your need for ceramic PCBs, you should find a trusted supplier. Some manufacturers do not produce ceramic PCBs at all, but you still have to choose among the ones that are left.
There are several vital considerations when choosing manufacturers of ceramic PCBs in China.
- Prototyping. It is essential that you can request custom ceramic PCB production from your supplier whenever it is necessary. Such an option requires a rapid prototyping service line to be offered.
- Cost. Do not chase the cheapest quotes, but rather properly evaluate the cost to performance ratio. Ceramic PCBs produced should cost every dollar spent.
- Turnaround type. Once again, do not expect your PCBs to be fabricated as soon as possible, but look for suppliers that offer rational timeframes.
- Shipment. It is always preferable to partner with suppliers that offer the broadest choice of shipment methods or are located near your fabric.
- Packaging. Make sure that the manufacturer of your choice packs your PCBs in a proper way, so they are not fractured during their delivery.
- Reliability. Attractive cost and short turnaround time are of no value if you are unsure if you will receive your boards at all. A great way to check reliability is to take a look at customer reviews and evaluate the level of customer support.
10. Ceramic PCB Applications
We suggest you use ceramic PCBs for more advanced digital products. This will make them more long-lasting which will positively impact your customer’s experience.
Here are the particular use cases of ceramic PCBs for various industries:
- Memory modules with up to 4 IC chips for telecommunications devices.
- Receiving/transmission modules needed for radars in the broadcasting.
- Interconnect boards and converter circuits.
- Amplifier circuits.
- Optical systems.
- Solar applications such as cell substrates.
- Regulators’ circuits and integrated circuits.
- Printers’ circuits.
- Power controllers.
- Semiconductor refrigeration devices.
- Exchange converters.
- Analog and digital PCBs
Ceramic PCBs can replace most competitors in terms of their performance. However, they compromise costs, so choose them for advanced/top-quality electronics.
Any requirement please feel free to contact us